I wasn’t going to comment on this because honestly it’s not the first time in my life that a church has claimed to know the date of the beginning of the apocalypse. However, I’m judging by the frequency with which my non-Christian friends are jumping on the “lets make fun of this!” bandwagon that it’s either confusing them, or making them uncomfortable, or both.
So, as someone who has been told often that I’m a sane and relatively non-scary religious sort I figured I’d give my insights.
For those who don’t know what I’m talking about – a Christian church has decided to purchase billboards proclaiming that the return of Christ (and the end of the world) will be this Saturday, May 21st.
In response, I’ve noticed a number of people ridiculing them on Facebook by RSVP-ing to an event for “Post-Rapture Looting”, meaning that once us Christians are all gone, they’re going to gleefully steal our stuff. This actually made me more depressed than angry, since my religious group is the: turn the other cheek-type rather than the: I’m angry so I’m gonna blow myself and you up-type, we’re a pretty safe target for ridicule. At this point I’m as used to it as I am of the entertainment industry declaring open season on me for being curvier than I should be. It’s just a part of my life that I’ve come to accept.
That being said, most of us Christians don’t try to predict the end of the world for two good reasons:
1) It’s really presumptuous to say you know what God is going to do and when he’s going to do it.
2) The only thing the bible clearly states on the matter is: no one knows the day, or the hour.
But do we all believe that this is going to happen eventually? Well, yeah – actually we do. We do because the entire last book of the bible is about it happening, and believing what the bible says is what makes us what we are. So yes, we do believe that Christ is coming back and we do believe that certain events will precede and follow this before and during the passing away of this world and the coming of a new.
I think Douglas Adams probably based his, “Followers of the Great Prophet Zarquan” off of us.
I do not, and never will, claim to know WHEN that is going to happen for the reasons stated above. That church could be over-shooting it tremendously and it’s going to be ten minutes from now for all I know.
When I was little, this idea made me very scared. As I got older the idea of getting to be alive at the start of such huge circumstances in the history of my species started to sound very interesting to me. Plus, getting old and infirm and eventually dying doesn’t hold a whole lot of appeal. This is how we are meant to live our lives; as though each day could be our last one here. Not obsessing over it, just aware of what could come on any day, at any hour.
Do we obsess over it? We shouldn’t. We should be engaged in being here, and doing the work we’re meant to while we’re here no matter how many years we’ve got. I don’t worry about it, it’s not my job or my place to worry about it. And worrying certainly won’t alter anything one way or the other. It’s something that is thankfully out of my hands.
Hopefully this is helpful to those of you fully engaged in teasing at the moment whether it’s because you’re uncomfortable, or confused, or just think us silly Christians are too darned funny to resist.
I don’t support that church’s decision to place those billboards because if they are wrong, they make all of us look as though we lack credibility, and also because I’m not one for the use of scare tactics for the purposes of conversion. However, I can tell you that I believe they’re doing it for what they believe are good reasons. I would assume they think we’re out of time and should look at our lives and what we are doing with them carefully while there is still an opportunity to do so.
That’s not really a bad thing.